Category Archives: California

Lobstas and Lighthouses

They say that flight attending isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. I’ve definitely had a small taste of that over the last few weeks. I’ve barely worked, although part of it is because there’s nothing really good to pick up and part of it is just that I needed some time off after the grueling training. I’ve actually traveling more days than I’ve worked, which is amazing for the soul but horrible for the wallet.

Nubble Light, Ogunquit, Maine

Nubble Light, Ogunquit, Maine

I’m not really sure what the mysterious allure is when I’m in uniform, but it’s as if people look at me differently. Maybe they think of glamour and jetsetting, and hey, I’m fine with that. Everything is definitely new and exciting to me right now, so maybe I just give off the new hire glow. I’m not sure what it is, but I hope I never lose the sense of wonder that I have and that other people seem to have when they see me in uniform.

As far as working, I’ve done 2 turns (where I go and come back in the same day) to Chicago and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Those are tiring and I don’t get a layover, so so far I don’t think they’re as cool. I also had a trip to Miami, I laidover there but I slept all day because the flight got in early in the morning. Basically I haven’t done anything cool as far as work is concerned yet, but I’m still getting used to it.

I’ve been much more interested in using my travel benefits, which my boyfriend loves so far! (stay tuned for his upcoming unnamed travel blog, he takes much better photos than me) He flew out to LA to visit me after graduation and we roadtripped it up to Monterey along the famed Highway 1, or PCH as we say in California. It was a drive-until-we-drop type trip, with many random detours to places like Ostrich Land, a tourist trap where we paid to feed ostriches. A few days later to decided to fly out to Boston and roadtrip up the other Highway 1, up the New England coast to Maine, solely in search of stuffing ourselves with lobsta. We had a wonderful lobsta dinner at The Lobster Shack, a place in Port Elizabeth with a gorgeous setting next to a lighthouse with waves crashing into rocky cliffs below. I highly recommend their fresh catch!

My next work destination is Toronto, and fun destination with the boyfriend is New Orleans in about a week. Our travel list grows ever longer however, and to choose we basically just have to flip a coin because the sky is literally the limit.

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

Camping at Carpinteria

I was very excited when I learned that my family was going camping at Carpinteria State Beach. I went there a lot as a kid, with my whole huge Italian family, as the last bastion of a fun time at the end of summer just before school started, but I hadn’t actually camped there in a several years. The memories flooded back to me as we pulled in, towing our tent trailer behind us. Even though it was only my immediate family in attendance this time, I felt like a kid again.

A Carpinteria sunset

The weather was warm and the campground was full. It’s a great campground that usually sells out months in advance, but we were able to jump in when someone cancelled at the last minute. There are many options for happy campers, with one campground that allows all manners of tents and RVs, and another that provides hookups for those that like to be plugged in. All sites are a maximum of a two-minute walk from the beach, and are divided by a large freshwater lagoon that the state park system is trying to maintain as a natural marshland by protecting it and replanting native fauna.

Freshwater Lagoon

The campground and state beach are parks that have survived the recent California budget cuts that devastated the state park system. I don’t see how they could afford to close down Carpinteria anyway; it’s a huge income-earner. The campground has its own sense of community among its campers, often complemented by activities and events hosted by the park administrators. This time, there was a Johnny Cash tribute at the small amphitheater (I didn’t attend, everyone in my household likes to go to bed at 8pm. WTF?). During the daytime, there are many things to do if you decide you don’t want to indulge in a bit of sun-worship. There are natural tide pools located a short walk south down the beach, extensive bike paths throughout the campground and beach area, as well at the cute little town of Carpinteria itself. There are many places in short walking distance from the campground to get something to eat, or the town is just cute enough to walk and enjoy the late summer sunny weather.

I, however, chose to sun-worship. I took a walk down the beach with my dad, and then decided to enjoy some rays so I could add a little to my (non-existent) tan. That’s what I chose to do this time around in Carpinteria, but every trip has been different and has brought good memories to add to my archives. I strongly suggest making a visit to Carpinteria to experience its mix of charm, culture, and natural setting that inspired the California politicians to rescue it from the chopping block.

Travel Seeds and the People That Water Them

I’ve always had a pretty easy time of justifying doing things I probably shouldn’t by asking myself “when else will I be able to do it?”  Mostly this reasoning just applies to traveling and paying for experiences that I probably can’t afford at the time but do anyway, because hey, when else will I be able to do it?  Then when my pesky logical brain gets in the way, I call up someone who always tells me what I want to hear (which is always “DO IT!”) and they tell me to, in fact, DO IT, so then I DO.

This is precisely what happened the weekend when one minute I was doing homework, the next minute I was on the freeway on my way to San Francisco.  It was the very beginning of April, and the first nice weekend weather-wise of the year.  My roommate had previously rejected my idea of taking a leisurely drive into the local mountains (it’s hear fault!), so I had hunkered down and decided to study economics or geology or something equally as boring.  Then, in the mysterious way that it usually happens, an idea seed got planted in my head.  It grew and grew until I could no longer concentrate, and suddenly I was looking up weather and hotels in San Francisco.  I mean, when would I ever be within close driving distance to San Francisco in the foreseeable future?  Can you see my logic??  Tell me you can!  Then after thoughts of money woes and gas prices, I called my mom so she would tell me to DO IT, and then I DID.

Within an hour of the travel seed being planted, I had thrown some clean undies and my toothbrush in my bag and had headed west on the I-80.  I tend to base my opinion of my own company in the car dependant upon what I’m doing, and at that moment, I loved my own company.  It seems a spontaneous road trip really bonds me with me.  Cheap fast good, some good tunes, and a new destination always turns my mood right around.  I wish I could bottle that and sell it!

I made the drive and found my way to my hotel, then decided to settle in and enjoy the luxury of being totally alone in my own space for the night (having a roommate can do much damages on the nerves).

I spent the weekend relaxing in the warm sun, during the first nice days of the spring.  I visited Fisherman’s Wharf (where I ate some delicious clam chowder), toured the U.S.S. Pampanito, and indulged in a hot fudge sundae in Ghiradelli Square.  In the midst of my relaxation and full tummy, I laid in the grass in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge and soaked in the sun.  It was the most relaxed I had been in months, and it’s sad to me that I had forgotten what that feeling was like.

Technically, my side trip to San Francisco was my first solo trip to a big city.  It was a liberating experience, one I hope to repeat again and again in my life.  I’ve decided that travel feels good, and that seems to be all the justification I need.  If you have a chance, do it.  I feel that regret is worse than being in debt.  Others might feel differently, but I’d rather take the risks in life than regret not taking them when I had the chance.

Notes on the Not-So-Scenic Route

It’s not a secret that I prefer to take the longer, more scenic route to any place.  I can take six hours to drive somewhere that’s two hours away, just to see everything there is to see.  I am a full believer that it’s not just about the destination, but the journey as well.  Chances are, if I have the time, I’ll take the time.  It’s just the way I roll.  So when I drove back to Reno after spring break and had to go up through the Central Valley due to weather, I wasn’t exactly happy about it.  That area of California is not exactly my favorite part (okay, I hate it, sorry if you’re from Fresno or Bakersfield).  Needless to say, I was not excited about driving for six or so hours through smoggy farmland.

My mind works in mysterious ways, however.  The simple change in scenery, even going from scenic to not-so-scenic, was enough to stimulate my travel-brain.  I thought my many-hour drive would be tedious and boring, and while I would say it was definitely uneventful, it would see that the different orientation of McDonalds and gas stations was enough to switch my brain to travel-mode.  It wasn’t particularly fun looking at the farmland, nor did I find anything extremely interesting about it.  Just the mere unfamiliarity of the area gave me a little travel buzz.  I learned a little bit about myself that day; that it doesn’t matter where I go, as long as I can see it in a new way, I can find the enjoyment in it.

Another Snow Adventure or Why Does It Happen To Me?

It’s no secret that I have the worst luck with snow, ever.  I could be in the middle of the Mojave Desert in July and it would snow on me, which is ironic, because aside from Christmas and jingle bells, I really don’t like snow all that much.  But it seems to like me.

I had to postpone my drive back up to Reno from SoCal for a day due to a storm.  I decided to take the long way around, the “non-scenic route”, for those who know how averse I am to it.  This way I was mostly avoiding the snowy mountains.  Apparently it doesn’t take much time in the mountains to delay me.  After hours and hours of driving through farm country, I finally started climbing the western slope of the Sierras and encountered this:

After passing bigrigs chainging up and a stressed phone call to my mother, both my parents advised me to wait it out in a motel. I ended up having tocall in to work (damn!) and hunker down in one of the tiny towns in the gold country back down the mountain.  The first one I encountered was Colfax, a tiny, misty town stuck in the side of the hill.  I felt more like I was in Oregon or Washington than Central California, due to the tall pine trees with low clouds clinging to them.  I checked in at seemingly the only motel in town (Colfax Motor Lodge), a place that still uses metal keys, and decided to explore the little town.

Historic Downtown Colfax, California

 

I came across the historic downtown center, and felt like time had stopped in this tiny railroad town.  The town was quiet and it seemed many places were closed, but I was happy to just peek in the windows.  I took the old trusty steed (that’s my car, just so we’re clear) and drove up and down narrow roads, just taking in my adventure.  I made it my goal to find the old town cemetery (these small western towns always have them with their crumbling headstones), and ended up exploring many back roads and a campground trying to find it.  Unfortunately it was tucked away in a corner of town I never got to, but I did see much of the area with my window rolled down to listen to the thunder (and getting rained in in my car, but it’s my adventure and I’ll get rained on if I want to!)  Eventually, it started to pour,so I headed back to my room to relax.

Painted on the back of the old rail station. Um, what?

 

After the stress of trying to get over the pass, a little small-town exploration and some tv-watching were just what the doctor ordered.  It was as relaxing day as I had had lately, and I was driving back from Spring Break.  Here’s to unexpected snow adventures!